May wants EU market access during Brexit implementation

| Updated: October 21, 2017 00:19:02

Photo: Reuters Photo: Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May said her country should have access to European Union market during implementation period of Brexit Britain.


“So during the implementation period, access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms, and Britain also should continue to take part in existing security measures,” she said.


Theresa May set out a plan on Friday to retain full access to the EU’s single market for two years after Brexit to try to reassure business and reset the tone of stalled negotiations with Brussels.


But her proposals for such a transition, for meeting Britain’s financial obligations and for protecting EU citizens’ rights fell short of what the EU wanted, reports Reuters.


EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier praised the speech for its “constructive spirit” but asked for more detail. Another official said it had left him “even more concerned”.


In a speech at a 14th-century church in Florence, Italy, May appealed directly to EU leaders to unlock the talks, which have stalled over a series of issues, including the size of the bill Britain should pay as part of its divorce settlement.


She spent much of her 30-minute speech describing the similarities between Britain and the EU, saying that if the complicated talks to unravel more than 40 years of union should fail, the only beneficiaries would be those who oppose democracy, liberalism and free trade.


Sterling fell against both the dollar GBP= and the euro EURGBP= during May's speech, weakening by more than half a cent against the U.S. currency.


Late on Friday ratings agency Moody’s downgraded its assessment of Britain’s creditworthiness, saying Brexit was damaging the country’s medium-term growth prospects. The government said Moody’s view was “outdated” and did not consider May’s most recent comments.


“Clearly people, businesses and public services should only have to plan for one set of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU,” May told an audience of Italian business leaders and diplomats.


Britain wants to move the talks forward and start addressing how a future relationship with the EU would work, a move May’s government says is vital if they want to find agreement on the divorce bill.


But the EU has stood firm, refusing to discuss trading arrangements until “sufficient progress” is made on the first three issues - the financial settlement, the land border with EU member Ireland and the protection of expatriates’ rights.


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May gives a speech in Complesso Santa Maria Novella in Florence of Italy on Friday. -Reuters Photo

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